Perks of Getting Along with Your Ex

Whether by divorce or a break-up, it is often difficult to get along with your ex. Acrimonious relations effect your entire life and even those around you. It does not have to be this way. There are perks to getting along with your ex even after a tumultuous breakup.

Divorce is often tumultuous, but it does not have to be afterward. Sometimes, there is still mutual respect between two people after a divorce. Even if there is not a great amount of love left between two exes, the choice to be civil is better than constantly fighting. No one wants to go through life still fighting with their ex years after the breakup.

  1. Children

When it comes to divorce, children are the ones who feel the long-term pain of a breakup. Unlike adults, children do not yet understand the complicated aspects of marriage and relationships. Despite a couple‚??s best intentions, a divorce often brings the worst out in people.

If you get along with your ex, your children will notice your harmonious situation. Getting along with your ex reassures your children that both parents still have their best interest at heart. It also makes it easier to make decisions about your children. Getting along with your ex means that you can have a more civilized conversation about your child‚??s welfare. Decisions about your child‚??s life are hard to accomplish if you and your ex are bickering.

  1. Save the friendship

Divorce happens for many reasons. Sometimes, the marriage ends for reasons outside the couple‚??s control. Even though the relationship or marriage is over, you do not have to stop being friends. Inside jokes, common hobbies, and even vacation spots are still enjoyable if you remain friends with your ex. You are not haunted by bad memories whenever you think of these places or things. Instead, you think about the friendship.

  1. Harmonious legal proceedings

After someone files for divorce, the couple will undergo a full divorce proceeding and a custody case if there are children. If you remain friendly, the process is much more enjoyable.

If you remain friendly with your ex, it will be far less likely that your ex will be unkind to you. Likewise, harmonious relations make it easier to navigate the process in the most equitable way possible. During a divorce, your ex is less likely to try to seek revenge. The same goes for a custody issue. Friendly relations make for better for legal proceedings.

  1. Easier to move on with your life

After the marriage breaks down, the relationship is over. Most likely, you and your ex will move on from the relationship. You will move to new places and find someone else to have a relationship with. As you move on, acrimonious exes are not likely to get along with the new people in their ex‚??s life.

This is difficult for children and others around the divorced couple. If you get along with your ex, you release all the baggage in your past. It is easier to move on when there is nothing negative to hold onto.

  1. Hold on to the good stuff from the relationship

After a marriage falls apart, it is hard to keep ahold of all the things that you enjoyed about the marriage. All of the sudden, you have to say goodbye to mutual friends, your in-laws, and old hobbies. If you stay friendly with your ex, it is easier to hold onto all the great things.

Just because you are saying goodbye to your ex does not mean that you have to say goodbye to everything. Getting along with your ex has its perks.


Why Self-Help Is a Recipe for Estate Planning Disaster

Seek an Experienced Professional

Many people who decide to prepare estate planning documents consider a range of self-help options. Admittedly, the market is glutted with DIY alternatives for estate planning, such as software programs, online legal document services, paralegals, typing services, and pre-printed forms from stationary stores to name a few examples. Although the price associated with these DIY options can seem appealing, the ultimate cost can be disastrous in terms of frustrated intentions, avoidable tax liabilities, and increased estate administration costs incurred because the documents are not drafted properly.

Estate planning is a complex area of practice that requires knowledge of many areas of law, including property law, tax law, health care law, family law, probate law, real estate law, and more. Given the complex nature of estate planning, pro-forma solutions built on boilerplate forms is an extremely risky proposition. This blog highlights a number of common self-help traps that an experienced Virginia Beach estate planning attorney can assist clients in avoiding an estate planning disaster.

Failing to Engage in Proper Planning

Without legal representation, many people draft a simple will or a skeleton type living trust though the document does not fit their legacy succession needs. When a strategy is not employed to develop a comprehensive estate plan, key needs are often overlooked, such as a durable power of attorney that authorizes someone to manage your financial affairs in the case of incapacity. When developing an estate plan becomes a matter of filling in blanks on a pre-printed form or typing in responses to generic computer prompts, the actual ‚??planning‚?Ě part of creating an ‚??estate plan‚?Ě is overlooked. While you might decide a living trust is preferable to a simple will, for example, this does not mean that you do not need a will at all. Even if you construct your estate plan around a living trust, you still need a pour-over will that provides instructions for distribution of any assets that are not transferred to the living trust.
Lack of Nuance and Awareness of State Law

Although much of the language in a certain category of estate planning documents might be similar, the language needs to be carefully tailored to meet your unique situation, including your specific assets, family structure, intentions, and other factors. If a template is used that does not allow for significant customization to fit your unique circumstances, your assets may pass to the wrong individual, or the document could be vulnerable if it is contested. Further, every state has specific requirements in terms of the substance, formalities and enforcement of various types of estate planning documents. If you rely on cookie cutter DIY estate planning documents, there is a risk that your estate planning devices might run afoul of state law. If you make a living trust the foundation of your estate plan to avoid probate, you might force your loved ones to deal with the additional cost, delay, and lack of privacy associated with probate proceedings if the trust is not properly set up.
Transferring Real Property to a Minor

While many parents or grandparents elect to leave a significant portion of their estate, including real property to minors, this is a process that must be done carefully. Execution of a quit claim deed to a 12-year-old grandchild is not advisable. This approach can result in your grandchild being saddled with a hefty gift tax liability, but there are ways around this trap for the unwary. Since minors cannot legally execute contracts, simply deeding a home over to a minor means that the owner of the property lacks the legal ability to execute a contract to secure a mortgage on the property or execute a sale to a third-party. The bottom line is that careful planning is needed when leaving assets to minors.
Lack of Follow Up

Many people think that estate planning is a one-time process involving the drafting of documents. Contrary to this belief, estate planning is an ongoing process. If you experience a significant life event like a divorce, the birth of a child, incapacitating injury, or remarriage, you might need to significantly revise your estate planning documents. Similarly, there are steps that must be taken to fully implement estate planning devices that go beyond document preparation. One of the most common errors among DIY estate planners involves failing to fund a living trust. The process of funding a trust essentially refers to the process of undertaking the necessary procedures to transfer assets into the trust. When someone fails to properly transfer assets into the trust, the asset might need to be handled through the probate process, which can defeat a key reason for establishing the trust.

The Value of a Special Needs TrustĖThe Estate Planning Dilemma Facing a Disabled Loved One

Do you have a loved one with a physical or mental disability, you face a difficult dilemma?

You might wish to provide financial assistance to your loved one for special tools and resources, which can improve your family member‚??s quality of life.¬† However, this altruistic act can go terribly wrong.¬† The current system designed to deliver public benefits for medical care and financial assistance to the disabled often penalizes such acts of love and support.¬† These types of financial gifts from family members frequently disqualify a disabled individual from receiving needed public benefits.¬† This unintended consequence of an act of kindness by a loved can be circumvented through the use of a special needs trust.

The traditional approach to handling legacy succession for disabled loved ones was to ‚??disinherit‚?Ě the child receiving government assistance based on financial means testing.¬† The disabled family member‚??s share was left to another family member (usually a sibling) with the understanding that the funds would be used for the care and support of the disabled family member.

Inadequate Estate Planning

Leaving assets or money to a disabled loved one can disqualify a disabled individual from receiving Medicaid, SSI, state benefits, and other forms of government assistance that are subject to means testing.¬† Even a well-crafted ‚??spendthrift‚?Ě trust will not prevent this harsh outcome because these types of government assistance are referred to as ‚??necessary services.‚?̬† Trust law permits public entities that provide these services to reach the assets of a properly drafted spendthrift trust.

Protect Yourself and Your Family with a Special Needs Trust

Special needs trusts provide the opportunity for parents to leave assets to a disabled child without exposing the assets in the trust to the reach of government entities or disqualifying the recipient from public assistance.  For example, this type of trust allows a parent to make financial resources available to a disabled family member without risking access to health care benefits throughout Medicaid or Supplement Security Income (SSI) for disabled low-income individuals with special needs.

The special needs trust (SNT) involves a legal relationship between the individual (grantor) who gifts funds to a trustee solely for the benefit of the disabled beneficiary.¬† The basic objective of the fund is to protect the assets in the trust, which is to be utilized to enrich the beneficiary‚??s (i.e. disabled family member‚??s) quality of life.¬† The traditional approach without use of a special needs trust posed potential issues because the sibling managing the funds might experience legal problems with creditors, suffer an incapacitating injury, or die before the disabled child.

Care must be exercised in the creation and administration of any type of special needs trust. The language of the trust agreement must clearly articulate the intent of the grantor that the assets are not to belong to the disabled child.  The document also must indicate that the funds are intended for limited and specific purposes for the benefit of the disabled loved one.  The person designated as the trustee must fully appreciate the rules governing this type of trust to avoid undermining the legal status of the trust as an independent legal entity.  The process of drafting a special needs trust should be undertaken by an experienced Virginia Beach estate planning attorney because government authorities could closely scrutinize the trust.

If you have questions about setting up a trust that will provide financial support for a disabled child without threatening the child‚??s eligibility for public benefits, you should speak to an experienced Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer.

Understanding When a Virginia Beach Court Will Grant a Request to Modify Child Custody

Our Virginia Beach divorce lawyers always explain to clients that custody orders must be constructed to provide effective co-parenting during the divorce process because changing the arrangements later constitutes a much more difficult challenge.

Many parents embroiled in the divorce process consider child custody the most important issue to be resolved in their family law dispute. If you are in the process of divorce, you might experience intense stress. Because parents must deal with complex emotions and uncertainty about the future, they often agree to child custody arrangements that provide an acceptable short-term arrangement without considering the need for future changes. While the court has wide discretion to grant many types of custody orders during a divorce, this discretion is more limited after custody orders have been put in place through a divorce decree.

A fair number of parents attempt to obtain a modification of custody orders without the advice and representation of an experienced family law attorney. When parents pursue this approach, they face an uphill battle because modifying a custody order typically is more difficult than establishing an initial custody arrangement. The reason that changing a custody order can be more difficult is that custody orders in the judgment of a divorce or paternity action are considered to be ‚??final.‚?Ě Although child custody orders in a divorce (or paternity) judgment can be modified, a preliminary test must be satisfied, which requires a material change in the facts upon which the judgment was based. This means parents should never simply agree to the custody arrangement requested by the other side based on the assumption that it can be changed later.

Virginia Beach courts like other courts throughout the state use the best interest of the child standard to establish child custody orders. While this standard still applies to modification hearings aimed at changing custody orders in a divorce decree, the judge must first determine that a ‚??material change in circumstances‚?Ě has occurred before weighing the evidence related to the long list of factors that define the best interest of the child standard. The types of changes that are substantial and material enough to justify a modification can be difficult to identify and prove sufficiently to persuade the court to change the child custody arrangements in the divorce judgment.

In short, the modification of child custody in a judgment involves a two-step analysis:
(1) Has a significant change in circumstances occurred; and

(2) Would modification of custody orders be in the best interest of the child given the change?
The hesitancy of courts to modify the custody arrangements in a divorce decree is based on several considerations. First, judgments are intended to provide a ‚??final resolution‚?Ě of contested issues, so disputes do not drag on indefinitely without the predictability that a final judgment provides to parents. Second, the children face an enormous amount of change, instability, and upheaval during a divorce, so courts would like to maintain a status quo that is functioning reasonably well to provide children with some degree of stability and consistency. Third, parents have a motivation to diligently pursue workable and effective parenting arrangements during a divorce when they know that post-judgment changes to the orders might be difficult to pursue.

Because the court must find facts exist that satisfy the material change of circumstances standard, parents have much to gain by seeking legal representation prior to filing for a modification. Depending on your situation, an experienced Virginia Beach child custody attorney might determine that you lack sufficient facts to have a reasonable chance at success. While this opinion might not be what you want to hear, you can avoid squandering valuable financial resources pursuing a custody change that never had a reasonable possibility of success. Legal advice and representation can facilitate putting together the most compelling presentation of evidence to establish that a sufficient change has occurred and that modification of the custody arrangements would be in the best interest of the child.

While every case is different, some examples of facts or scenarios that might justify a change include:
‚?Ę Decision of the custodial parent to relocate
‚?Ę Remarriage of a parent
‚?Ę Violations of the custody orders by a parent
‚?Ę Child abuse or neglect
‚?Ę Disability or serious illness of the custodial parent
‚?Ę Intentional alienation of the child‚??s relationship with the non-custodial parent

If you are considering seeking a modification of custody in Virginia Beach or the surrounding areas, an experienced Virginia Beach child custody attorney can review your situation and advise you regarding your legal options.

Co-opting your ex in Creating a Brighter Future for your Children Following Divorce

Experienced Divorce Attorney, Chesapeake, VA 

An experienced Divorce Attorney, in Chesapeake VA bestows a clear perspective on the gentle art of getting along with your ex for the sake of your children, following separation and divorce

The messy divorce is done with, custody battles are over, collateral damage is contained, finances are on a steadier footing, you have a bright new future laying out a red carpet for you, and everything is fine. Right? Well, not entirely. There‚??s the itsy bitsy problem of raising children as a single parent. You begin to realize that your children stand to gain enormously if you co-opt your ex in a co-parenting agreement, however obnoxious that thought may be, giving your kids the best care that you can jointly provide.

Overcoming the mental block, forgetting the past, ignoring the chasm of differences that separates you and your ex following a divorce and custody battle

Jointly parenting children in divorce is a great solution as far as the kids are concerned, but it could open a Pandora‚??s Box for you. It looks almost impossible getting back on speaking terms with the partner you deleted from your life a while back. But you have to admit, the stakes are high in overcoming mutual resentment, for the sake of the kids who deserve a better deal. Divorce lawyers in Virginia suggest you begin by firmly convincing yourself that the marriage is well and truly over, but you owe it to the kids to cocoon them in a brighter future. You could envision yourself breaking new horizons where the children become your number one priority, overruling objections to bring your ex back into the larger picture.

What do divorce children gain from co-parenting arrangements?

  • An emotionally secure foundation

Partners that have agreed on a divorce parenting plan and remain bonded, lovingly to their kids, create an ambiance that encourages children to adapt better to changing circumstances, and such children emerge with their self-esteem boosted.

  • The rewards of a disciplined life

Encouraging the ex to agree to a co-parenting calendar boosts family solidarity, and interpersonal relations touch an even keel. This encourages kids to learn to follow the rules, respect the routine, enjoy the rewards, and grow stronger by leading a disciplined life.

  • Optimized problem resolution capabilities

The very fact that you have partners adhering to co-parenting rules, and are still cooperating to look after their children, becomes a learning experience for the kids ‚?? a valuable lesson that problems can be resolved quietly and efficiently through teamwork, and overcoming interpersonal differences.

  • Inspiration from your personal example

The cooperation you solicit from your ex imprints itself on the child, setting the tone for their future growth and mental development, impacting behavioral patterns positively.

The minimum expected of partners following a co-parenting plan

The path is crystal clear, you will be ignoring your feelings of hurt or resentment towards your ex (the hardest part), and assigning top priority to the kids, and to their happiness and well being, making their future as safe and secure as is humanly possible.

The bonus will be on constructive behavior that benefits the kids

Preoccupied as you are with feelings of intense bitterness or simmering anger, the divorce attorney, in Virginia, encourage you to display constructive behavior with laser focus on doing what benefits the kids. The negativity that envelopes the divorce can be overcome through exercise, friends and therapy.

More than the ex, it is the kids that become the focal point

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by negative memories of your marriage, focus on photographic memories of your children, and take pride in having a greater say in their development.

Your body language will need dramatic improvement

Yoga and holistic mind body therapies boost co parenting skills, besides improving your body language, as you move on with your life unshackled by the trauma, physical and/or mental, that shook your bearings.

You will isolate your child from your issues

It is vitally important to acknowledge that the child has no role to play in perpetuating your resentments or hurt, and kids must be protected from the unpleasantness that resulted in divorce.

Co-parenting tips that help you deal tactfully with the ex, without ruffling feathers

De-stressing your vibrations with the ex

Yes, the incorrigible ex will push all the wrong buttons, getting you revved up the wrong way, but you need to exercise restraint. Place a cap on the stress you take on and learn to navigate your ex emotionally, all while you focus on your child‚??s well being. Talk frankly with your ex, laying the ground rules to clearly define co-parenting responsibilities so you know what is expected of each other. Never allow the conversation to drift to more personal areas unless it concerns the kids.

Maintaining dignity in all communications

Apply the charm offense and ensure that nothing untoward happens, and nothing regrettable is said in the presence of the child. Communicate in a non-adversarial and friendly manner.

Being businesslike and respectful

Whether it is making a phone call, dispatching an email, exchanging messages on social media or talking face to face, one of the most resilient tips for co-parenting suggests that you treat your ex with respect. Making sure your body language is stress free and relaxed, and communicating with the same enthusiasm you would show to a close friend.

Being more accommodating, less intimidating

Pepper the conversation with gentle requests like ‚??Do you think this could solve the issue?‚?Ě, ‚??Could we try that solution?‚?Ě, ‚??Could you help us resolve this?‚?Ě which do not become intimidating statements. Above all, don‚??t shy away from asking an opinion. Show you value your ex‚??s advice.

Being a good listener

Just like you, your ex will be equally anxious to play the parenting role to perfection, and being a good listener conveys the message that his or her opinions count, and their suggestions are respected. Single parents crushed under the burden of divorce with children need all the support they can muster, even if it means pandering the ex‚??s ego.

Being always on call

This is potentially the biggest task. Being available round the clock conveys the crystal clear message to the children that your world revolves around them, and you can set aside differences with your ex for their sake.

An apology sincerely delivered is an effective antidote to angst

An apology for past traumas inflicted dramatically shifts behavioral patterns from powerfully adversarial to spiritually elevating. It accomplishes what nothing else can ‚?? diffuses potential threats that mark relationships.

Contribute your time and attention lavishly

If the ex, or the kids, in divorce request you to spend an extra hour with them, so be it, it‚??s their wish, and their wish is your command. Chilling out with children heals the hurt and strengthens bonds.

Parenting through divorce, handling vital issues that impact the child‚??s future

  • Tackling healthcare needs

Facing a medical emergency alone or handling medical needs in isolation can be avoided if the ex can be co-opted in caring duties that primarily involve dealing with medical professionals, attending consultations and following doctor‚??s appointments.

  • Fulfilling educational needs

A brave new world revolves around the kids‚?? schooling, involving the faculty, elaborate teaching sessions, rigorous sporting events, extra-curricular activities and parent-teacher meetings where one or both parents can spare the time to be responsibly involved. Such participation can be mutually decided for the convenience of both parents. This will go a long way in laying out a stable educational foundation for the kids.

  • Handling personal finances

This could be the very problem that led to the divorce, and may continue to spread ripples post-divorce, but it would be gracious of both parents if they could arrive at a mutually agreeable plan for funding the child‚??s priority needs. Ideally, one partner could take care of education while the other helps in tackling health care and routine needs. In both scenarios, a budget needs to be set and carefully recorded to prevent future financial flare ups.

The Experienced Divorce Attorney, Chesapeake, VA

Beyond post-divorce decrees, it would be illogical to expect courts to involve themselves in tackling parenting issues. The best divorce lawyers in Virginia add a clearer perspective, contributing worthwhile suggestions that are not only practical but immensely helpful in mitigating child rearing problems that confront divorced parents. Experienced family law attorneys, skilled therapists and family professionals in Virginia can be solicited for help in introducing transparent and accountable measures that help partners involve their ex‚??s in child development.

Where, for example, an ex has serious mental and behavioral issues such as a borderline personality disorder (BPD) or bipolar disorder, a trained co-parenting counselling professionals could be engaged in executing post-divorce agreements. Where routine coexistence with the ex becomes problematic, parallel parenting techniques can be followed to ensure kids grow safely. Virginia divorce laws permit appointment of Guardians Ad Litem (GAL) to arrive at amicable co-parenting agreements that protect both partners and children.

Co-parenting brings dignity and respect to a broken relationship where the focal point shifts to the children that crave physical, emotional and financial support. The Experienced Divorce Attorney, Chesapeake, VA emphasizes unambiguously that the process of co-parenting involves tremendous personal sacrifices from the part of separated and divorced parents when they mutually agree to forge a semblance of solidarity, if only to protect and nurture their children.



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Distribution of Property: The Basics

When you are facing the prospect of an impending divorce, you might have significant concerns about the future. The process of dividing your property and debts can have a dramatic impact on your financial security and standard of living during and after your divorce. While there are many complex issues involved in the equitable distribution of property under Virginia law, this blog provides some basic information that everyone considering or involved in the divorce process should understand‚?¶

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